How To Wear a Shirt Jacket: 5 Different Outfit Ideas

by Beau Hayhoe  |  in Casual Style

Want to add a great mid-layer to your wardrobe that isn’t a quilted vest or sweater? Try a shirt jacket! We’ll go over the best types to consider buying, plus how to wear a shirt jacket, five different ways.

Spend any time shopping around or reading any menswear site (like this one!), and you’ll probably come across the term “shirt jacket.”

Wait a second… hold up. Is it a shirt? Is it a jacket?

To that, we say: Yes.

The shirt jacket is a menswear workhorse that offers up plenty of different ways to wear it. In fact, we’ll dive into five ways to wear your shirt jacket today. But before you step into potentially your new favorite layer, let’s clear a few things up.

Five Ways to Wear One — Denim Jacket
Have you checked out the other posts in this series?

See All Five Ways Articles


Shirt jacket, shacket, overshirt: What’s the difference?

Back To Top

The world of shirt jackets is nearly as broad as any other category in menswear.

First things first, a shirt jacket is a hybrid piece between the two categories, as the name would imply. It’s heftier and bulkier in build than a typical shirt (think of an Oxford shirt… but thicker, in most cases).

Now, you’ve probably heard the trusty shirt jacket referenced in multiple ways. In shorthand, the shirt jacket is known as the “shacket,” but you’re also apt to see it referred to simply as an overshirt.

These terms are interchangeable, since you’re getting the same type of build, silhouette and layering potential. Today’s pick is an Everlane Heavyweight Overshirt, but again, it’s a shirt jacket at heart.

What are shirt jackets made of?

Back To Top

Shirt jackets are a great layer during the colder months, since they come in a variety of weights. You can find them in heavier fabrics like wool, or lighter fabrics like brushed cotton.

Wool shirt jackets are thicker and warmer than cotton shirt jackets. Fleece shirt jackets can also be found, and these are more casual (kind of like a different take on a fleece zip-up). 

For example: If you want a classic shirt jacket made from a soft cotton, you’d do well to pick up the J.Crew Chamois Workshirt. And if you want something soft-as-can-be, the Todd Snyder Polartec Sherpa Overshirt feels like you’re wearing a blanket. 

If you want something that straddles the line between old-school and new-school, go with the military-inspired Flint and Tinder CPO Shirt Jacket (it’s made with cotton, so it’s lighter-weight than some of the other options on this list).

Shirt Jackets We Love and Recommend

Back To Top

How should a shirt jacket / shacket / overshirt fit?

Back To Top

So we’ve covered typical shirt jacket terminology as well as common fabrics they’re made from. So once you find the best one for you, how exactly should your shirt jacket fit?

In general, you’re going for a more relaxed fit. You need room to layer underneath, so this makes sense. Keep in mind that most shirt jackets are designed to be roomy yet true to size, so try a few on before buying, to find the right size for you. 

If you find one true to size, that means you can take your normal shirt size and layer it atop another shirt or a henley with ease. Your shirt jacket should offer room to wear over anything from a sweatshirt to a flannel shirt, but be sure to select the right style for your needs.

What To Wear With Your Shirt Jacket

Back To Top

To keep things simple, we’re utilizing the same Everlane heavyweight shirt jacket in all these outfits, but remember you can use any shirt jacket you like.

So let’s get into the outfits!

Shirt Jacket Outfit #1: Everyday Adventures 

The fall and winter season can throw all kinds of curveballs your way, which makes it all the more important to layer up accordingly! Enter the durable overshirt, paired up with an ever-so-classic henley.

Add in a pair of slim and equally timeless blue denim, then slide into some casually rugged moc toe boots (this pair is actually curated by John Legend for Sperry’s holiday collection).

Of course, the right accessories are a key final step.

Stay warm with a solidly made watch cap, then wrap it all together with the aptly named and seriously cool McQueen Gloves from Hestra. Little touches like sleek gloves work well with a classic shirt jacket.

With these picks in tow, you’re ready for anything. 

Shirt Jacket Outfit #2: Rugged Yet Refined 

Trust us when we say the right shacket offers more versatility than expected. For instance, you can wear your shirt jacket in a way that’s more refined and elevated than the norm. 

Here, the shacket takes the place of a traditional blazer. It adds a nice bit of contrast underneath a classic (yet bold) peacoat.

The crisp Oxford shirt and tan chinos are fit for the office, or casual drinks after work, while the sharp tan leather wingtip shoes add the right amount of flair.

Pick up a field watch with a cool suede leather strap, and of course, grab your McQueen-approved gloves from Hestra to round things out with a badass edge. 

Shirt Jacket Outfit #3: Day-to-Night Style 

If you haven’t yet dipped your toe into the world of shirt jackets, it’s probably helpful to start with a look that’s truly versatile and just… works.

For an easy outfit option that goes and goes all day long, pair your shirt jacket with an ever-classic chambray shirt, then mix things up ever so slightly with faded black selvedge denim. 

The light blue chambray shirt works well against the navy shirt jacket, and that black selvedge denim adds a bit of cool edge. 

Your trusty moc toe boots are back and pulling double duty. No matter what the day throws your way, you’ll be layered up in style.

Shirt Jacket Outfit #4: Edgy Seasonal Layering

Don’t think you need to stow away your other layers now that you’ve got a shirt jacket. As we’ve said before, the shirt jacket’s versatility is what makes it a must-buy. The best shirt jackets around (like this one) can even layer under your favorite denim jacket. It’s a cool style move that’s eye-catching without going over the top. 

And when you rock it with a rugged henley, you’re  adding another layer  to combat the cold while looking mighty cool. You could certainly rock your faded black selvedge denim if you so choose, but olive chinos are a nice change of pace.

To really drive things home on the style front, tough work boots with a classic build are the right way to go. 

Shirt Jacket Outfit #5: Back to Business 

Believe it or not, you can wear your shirt jacket to the office. The best shirt jackets are like a cooler version of your favorite blazer, adding a bit of rugged appeal to classic outfits.

Your Oxford shirt is a durable workhorse for any time of year, but it’s leaning a little more into fall and winter with the addition of a charcoal wool tie. Tan chinos should be a constant in your rotation, so they’re a fine pair of pants for this look. 

To keep things rugged yet refined, brown leather chukka boots tie things together in a way that works for fall and winter. 

Why You Need a Shirt Jacket This Season

Back To Top

With its rugged good looks and versatility, the shirt jacket can be your new favorite layer for fall and winter.

It’s ready to team up with a peacoat or a denim jacket, and the right shirt jackets are hard-wearing enough to rock as an outer layer all on its own. Plus, the best shirt jackets add warmth, style, and functionality to nearly any look (yes, even more office-appropriate or outdoorsy outfits). 

The humble shirt jacket (or shacket, or overshirt) is perfect when you want a layer that goes above and beyond the expected, no questions asked. 

Was that helpful?

If you have any questions or comments, DM me on Instagram! I’m also on Twitter and Effortless Gent’s Facebook page.